Araura College will celebrate its 50th anniversary during December

The celebrations in Aitutaki will be opened by Prime Minister Henry Puna, one of the original students of the college when it first opened in 1963 as Aitutaki Junior High School.

Principal Tarona Daniela says the festivities will take place over two days – Tuesday December 10 and Wednesday December 11.

Araura College became a full college in 1977 and has a roll of about 180 students. The state-funded school’s motto is ‘E Ara e Kimi’ (Awake and Seek) and when it first opened it also catered for students from Mauke, Manihiki, Rakahanga, Pukapuka and Penrhyn. The school offered both academic and vocational programmes from forms 1 to 4. Aitutaki Junior High School had a roll of 200 students with 10 teachers. In 1977 the school was upgraded to college status with the introduction of New Zealand School Certificate prescriptions. The school roll grew to 350 with 24 teachers. Soon form 6 was introduced with the intention of completing secondary education on the island. Form 6 is still part of Araura College today, but with a much smaller roll of only 20 students.

This year the school roll stands at 178, with 13 teachers, two teacher aides, a student guidance counsellor and a school secretary.

Araura College is situated right in the centre of Aituaki on a parcel of land given by the landowners to the Ministry of Education for the sole purpose of education for many more generations to come.

Daniela says Araura College has a proud and rich history in all aspects of learning.

“She stands tall when it comes to academic achievements, cultural pride, social endeavours and sporting accomplishments. To this day, Araura College continues to do well due mainly to the full support of Aitutaki Enua and, most importantly, her total trust in the Lord.”

If you are a past student or teacher and you want to share your experiences and memories of Araura College, please contact Daniela at The college is encouraging past staff, students and the community to contribute their stories and photos in the lead up to the big anniversary and at the celebrations, which will be held on college grounds.